Speakers for 2024 Include
Meet the Speakers
Managing Director, DevComms
Rob is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and has worked specifically in the planning and property area of communications for over 20 years. He has provided strategic advice on proposals across all sectors of property including large urban extensions, retail, sports stadia and large scale distribution.
Managing Director, UK Property Forums
Matthew is the Founder and Managing Director of UK Property Forums. Established in 2004, UKPF enables conferences, events and networking opportunities across the Greater Thames Valley region including Oxford, Reading and Aylesbury. As part of the range of events which UKPF have created, he leads UK Prop Social, a networking club for 150+ members and also the Thames Valley offer at MIPIM UK and MIPIM Cannes, France. Having lived and studied in the Thames Valley, he is very informed about the region and passionate about the development of a group for all those involved in the Thames Valley property markets.
Hugh enjoyed a highly successful career as a commercial property lawyer, leading one of the major real estate firms in the country. Having graduated from University College Oxford and trained in the City, Hugh returned to Oxford in 1986 where he now works as a consultant to the property community. He believes that whilst there is much to admire in recent developments, the plans which are being forged to harness and accommodate the activity in the region will make the next few years the most exciting in the region for decades.
Executive Director, Oxford City Council
Tom is a town planner who has worked across the public, private and social enterprise sectors. He joined Oxford City Council is April 2019 as Director of Development, where he has responsibility for planning, property, housing and capital project delivery, economic development & city centre management. Alongside his role as at OxWED, Tom also sits on the board of Experience Oxfordshire, the county’s Destination Management Organisation. Other key projects being led by Tom include the Blackbird Leys estate regeneration, major improvements to the Covered Market and a refresh of masterplan for Oxford train station. Prior to joining Oxford City Council, Tom was the Assistant Director for Area Regeneration at Lambeth Council, where is delivered a range of workspace, public realm and meanwhile projects.
He joined Lambeth from AECOM Design + Planning, where he project managed numerous masterplanning, regeneration and infrastructure planning projects. He has also worked for the Greater London Authority, establishing the Royal Docks Enterprise Zones and working as part of the team that secured the funding package for the Northern Line Extension. Tom began his career at Renaisi, a social enterprise based in east London, where he led the Woodberry Down and Stamford Hill Single Regeneration Budget programme.
Commercial Director for MEPC Milton Park
Philip joined MEPC in 2006 with nearly 30 years’ experience in commercial real estate. Philip works alongside the asset management team, developing relationships with potential clients and looking after large offices and laboratories at Milton Park. He is passionate about helping companies with their evolving accommodation needs and enjoys demystifying complex real estate issues to make office moving easier. Philip is an active figure within the local community and can often be seen jogging round Milton Park at lunchtimes.
Corporate Director: Environment and Place, Oxfordshire County Council
Bill Cotton is the Corporate Director for Environment and Place at Oxfordshire County Council. Bill is responsible for Transport, Environmental Services and Highways. He is also the lead for Climate Action and the delivery of an ambitious Capital Programme of infrastructure provision in the County. Bill is a professional place-maker and partnership builder, he has over 30 years’ experience with senior roles in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, Swindon, Bath, and London Borough of Wandsworth. Bill has lead services in Planning, Regeneration, Transport, Environment, Economic Development, Housing, Leisure, Tourism, Culture and property development, as well as spells in regeneration consultancy. He was also the Board Chairman of the Bournemouth Development Company for 8 years.
Research Director, Bidwells
Sue is Research Director at Bidwells, having previously headed UK Research at JLL and Cluttons, and held positions with St Quintin, the Department of the Environment and the Center for Urban Policy Research in the US.
She holds an MSc in Property Investment & Finance from Cass Business School, an MS in Planning and Urban Policy from Rutgers University in the United States and a BSc in Rural Environment Studies from Wye College. She leads a dynamic programme of research at Bidwells, particularly focused on the real estate implications of the science and technology sectors across the Oxford – Cambridge Arc, working with academics and sector specific experts.
Managing Director, Advanced Oxford
Sarah Haywood is Managing Director of Advanced Oxford, a not-for-profit group of senior leaders from Oxfordshire’s major knowledge-intensive businesses, working together to support the long-term development of the Oxford region as a dynamic and prosperous place to work and live. Sarah joined Advanced Oxford in July, 2019. She sits on the advisory boards for TheHill Oxford, the University of Oxford IDEA Programme and The Chemistry Department, Imperial College. Sarah studied Biology at the University of Oxford and also has a Post-graduate Diploma in Management (Health) and an MA in Human Resources Management and Strategy. Sarah is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute and regularly works as a mentor across a number of innovation related programmes. Sarah was named on the Progress 1000 for 2019, The Evening Standard’s list of the most influential people in London, for her work with MedCity, the life sciences cluster organisation for London, which she helped to set up.
Dr Tom Holbrook
Director, 5th Studio
Dr Tom Holbrook is founding partner of architecture and urban design practice 5th Studio.
Tom’s design practice explores complex urban regeneration, sustainability and the resilience of cities. Tom is a Design Advocate for the Mayor of London and a member of the Design Panel for HS2.
In addition to the spatial study for the reopening of the Oxford Cowley Line, recent projects at 5th Studio include the Oxford to Cambridge Arc strategy for the National Infrastructure Commission, award-winning buildings for making and innovation in Cambridge and London, and masterplans for rail-orientated development in Cambridge, Derby and London.
Managing Director, Oxford City Housing
Helen has worked in many sectors, including retail, education, offices and healthcare, but has a passion for housing. Helen started her career as a Quantity Surveyor and over the last twenty years her professional career has been predominantly been that of Employer’s Agent. Working as a Consultant has allowed Helen to deliver schemes under various structures, operating models, and financial profiles, of both private sector businesses, charitable organizations, registered providers and local authorities.
Prior to joining Oxford City Housing Limited as Managing Director, in August 2021, Helen was the Head of Development and lead officer in the delivery of homes for Stoke-on-Trent’s wholly owned housing company Fortior Homes. Helen led on the completion and occupation of Clayworks a 151 units PRS apartment block which formed the anchor to the Smithfield cultural quarter redevelopment. During her time at Stoke-on-Trent, Helen focused the Business Plan of Fortior Homes into a more commercial direction and worked with Partner Developers on bespoke structures to deliver multi tenure homes on brownfield sites. Helen has managed and delivered under HIF and was instrumental in the successful Levelling Up bid for 2 major regeneration schemes with strong residential anchors and a further 3 heritage sites with housing at their core. Oxford City Housing Limited is predominantly delivering affordable homes and with Helen’s belief that good quality design in housing providing the foundation of sustainable communities, improved education, health and economic growth to the local area she is taking Oxford City Housing Limited into the next phase of delivery and operation.
CEO & Fellow of Magdalen College, The Oxford Science Park
Rory joined Magdalen College as Bursar in March 2014, having been a Partner and CFO of Bridges Ventures, a private equity firm specialising in social impact investment in high growth SMEs and real estate. Rory’s responsibility is to oversee The Oxford Science Park’s management and development as one of Magdalen College’s key property investments that is at the heart of its strategy to support discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. Previously Rory was an investment banker at Schroders and Morgan Stanley, specialising in mergers and acquisitions for a range of international clients. Rory graduated in Economics from Trinity College, Cambridge.
Chair, The Didcot Powerhouse Fund
After graduating from Oxford University in 1982, Elizabeth spent twenty years in investment banking at Chase Manhattan and JP Morgan, becoming a Managing Director in 1991. On leaving JP Morgan in 2002 Elizabeth began a portfolio career that has always balanced local with global.
Within Oxfordshire: since 2002 she has been an Associate Fellow at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford. She is currently Chair of the Didcot Powerhouse Fund; Patron of charity SOFEA following six years as Trustee; a member of the Grants Panel of the Step Change Fund and a Trustee of Be Free Young Carers. Previous Oxfordshire roles include Chair of Oxford Playhouse; Governor from 2006 to 2015 of Activate Learning; Chair of the Select Committee on Affordable Housing in Oxford; and a Charity Mentor.
Dr Martin Reeves
Chief Executive, Oxfordshire County Council
Martin has been Chief Executive of Oxfordshire County Council since March 2023. He was previously Chief Executive of Coventry City Council for over 14 years and was also the Chief Executive of the West Midlands Combined Authority from March 2016 to September 2017. He had previously been with Bedfordshire County Council for three and a half years as Assistant Chief Executive and Chief Executive.
Martin has held strategic leadership roles in a District and an outer London Borough and was Programme Director for Work Smart, Westminster City Council’s flagship transformation programme. Martin spent much of his early career as a lecturer and researcher and has a PhD in applied economics.
He has an Honorary Doctorate from Coventry University in recognition of his service and commitment to the City of Coventry and is the first Honorary President of LARIA (Local Area Research and Intelligence Association).
He is a former President of SOLACE (Society of Local Authority Chief Executives & Senior Managers) and is the current Local Government Association (LGA) National Procurement Champion.
Will Richmond-Coggan is a Partner of the Litigation team at Freeths LLP, a leading national firm, working primarily from their Oxford office.
Will is partner and head of the Data and Information Disputes team, based in Oxford. His team is part of the award-winning wider national Dispute Resolution department of Freeths LLP.
Will is a specialist in data protection and privacy disputes and also advise clients from listed multi-nationals to start-ups in sectors such as AI, big data analytics and facial recognition, on all matters relating to data protection, information security, online harms and associated legislative and regulatory compliance.
Chief Digital Officer, RLB
Matt Sharp is a Partner of RLB in the UK and Chief Digital Officer. Matt joined RLB in 2020 and has responsibility for strategy, project delivery and day to day service operations for digital, data and technology products and services in the UK. Matt has over 15 years of IT leadership experience gained through complex digital transformation projects delivered across Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the United States.
Matt has broad industry knowledge across retail, telecommunications and industrial services whilst also bringing construction and built environment digital solutions knowledge from IT leadership roles he has held working for consultancy and public and private sector client organisations.
Director, Storey Consulting
Tom Storey has over 20 years of experience providing strategic advice within Sustainability to the property and Construction sector. A former Operations Director at Lend Lease working within their Sustainability team. Since working at Lend Lease he went on to found a number of companies including K10 & Ownminder which support the property & construction companies in their aspirations around Environmental, Social and Governance. He also leads an ESG consultancy called Storey Consulting which provides clients with strategic advice and his client include Oxford North, OUD, The Crown Estate, Grosvenor, Sellar, Legal & General, Barratts and Derwent.
CEO, Oxford University Development
Anna Strongman is CEO of Oxford University Development (OUD), a joint venture between Oxford University and Legal & General set up to build Innovation Districts and subsidised accommodation for graduate students and the university workforce.
Anna was previously Managing Partner of Argent LLP in London, where she spent 12 years executing a range of asset, development, and business planning projects. Highlights included leading the Asset Management of King’s Cross, developing Coal Drops Yard, and setting up a BTR portfolio with JV partners Related. Anna was instrumental in building the business from 40 people to a team of 200 over a ten-year period and led the corporate side of the business as Managing Partner.
Before joining Argent, Anna worked in the planning and economic development team of Arup, worked for DTZ in Scotland, and lived for 18 months in Japan, where she studied Japanese and conducted research at the Japan Productivity Centre as a Daiwa Scholar.
Chief Executive, OxLEP
Nigel joined Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP) in June 2013 and has made his mark with energetic and inspirational leadership. He spearheaded the bid for the Oxford and Oxfordshire City Deal, the EU Structural and Investment Fund and Strategic Economic Plan submissions and is assisting the county’s businesses into a period of exceptional growth. Oxfordshire is already a powerhouse of innovation and wealth creation and Nigel is focused on building upon the region’s unique strengths to deliver economic success through the commercialisation of innovation. Nigel has over 20 years’ experience in the formation, development, operation and management of Public/Private sector organisations.
Head of Oxford Office, Bidwells
Richard joined Bidwells as partner in 2015 and became head of Bidwells’ Oxford office in 2019 where he now leads a 60+ multi-disciplined team. As the spearhead of Bidwells’ growth in Oxford, Richard dedicates much of his time to supporting the region’s market place, with a focus on the Education and Science and Technology sectors thriving across the Oxford-Cambridge Arc. Clients include the University and Colleges, Oxford Science Innovations (OSI) and Harwell.
Bidwells recognises the Oxford-Cambridge Arc’s potential to transform the UK economy. The firm has long understood that the Arc’s leading businesses and institutions are not driven simply by a chase for economic growth but by an academic push to combat the universal challenges threatening our planet and humankind. Richard’s understanding of the region and knowledge of its markets is pivotal to the firm’s ability to unlock value on behalf of its clients in Oxfordshire.
Senior Director, CBRE
Richard was educated at St Edward’s, Oxford and Exeter University where he gained a geography degree. He commenced his surveying career in 1989 at Gerald Eve in London. He joined James Offen and Partners and in 2002 jointly started VSL. Richard has considerable experience in office, industrial, retail, development and investment agency work. Richard dedicates considerable time and energy to economic and cultural development in Oxfordshire. He is a board member of Experience Oxfordshire and Active Oxfordshire, a member of the Ashmolean corporate circle, a member of the Oxford City Council Economic Growth Steering Group and Chair of Reciprocate. Richard was appointed Deputy Lieutenant for Oxfordshire in 2017 and High Sheriff of Oxfordshire in 2018/19. Outside work he is a hockey fanatic playing at Oxford Hawks Hockey Club and an enthusiastic park runner.
Head of Environmental Sustainability, University of Oxford
Harriet Waters has been Head of Environmental Sustainability at the University of Oxford since 2013. She is responsible for the delivery of the University’s recently adopted environmental sustainability strategy. Harriet ensures that sustainability projects at the University are carried out in collaboration with academic staff, practitioners, students and external organisations. Prior to working in the Higher Education sector, she worked in ethical investment and consultancy. Harriet is a Chartered Environmentalist, a keen cyclist and loves cooking, particularly if she can use food grown in her edible garden.
Deputy Director, Head of Investor Relations – Department for Business and Trade
Gus leads the UK Government’s Investor Relations function, within the department’s Investment Directorate. The team’s job is to steward long-term relationships between the UK and over 400 capital partners, like Sovereign Wealth Funds, Pension Funds and Venture Capital Funds. The directorate also works to connect international capital from corporates, VCs and institutional investors with British opportunities in priority sectors like Science & Technology and Net Zero. Gus has held a range of UK Government roles across the Civil Service, in London and overseas.